Editor’s Note: This is the 338th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON — In December 1962, a new Fetty Elementary School was opened, replacing a two-story frame structure built in 1928 and used until the new school was built. The new school was located on West Virginia Route 2, just east of the city limits and only a short distance from the site of the original school.
Designed by Huntington architect William R. Frampton and built at a cost of just under $110,000, the new building contained six classrooms, a multi-purpose room, restrooms, a principal’s office and teachers’ lounge. The Neighborgall Construction Co. was the general contractor for the project.
Citing a dwindling enrollment, the Cabell County Board of Education closed Fetty in 1982. When some of the school’s parents objected to the closure, Superintendent Garth Errington defended the board’s decision, saying the school system no longer could afford to operate small schools in which some classrooms had only 12 or 13 students. Fetty was one of those schools, he said.
For nearly the next 20 years, the school system used the former elementary for storage. Then, in 2000, it was given a new lease on life when it became the new home of the Tri-State Fire Academy. Born in 1959, the Academy had to abandon its 20th Street home when the property was sold to a developer who built an apartment complex on it.
Firefighters and other volunteers labored to put the former school building to its new use, rewiring it for high-tech classrooms, installing new heating and air conditioning and setting up a commercial grade kitchen. Like the labor and nearly all the furnishings, the kitchen equipment was donated.
Now in its 61st year, the nonprofit Tri-State Fire Academy continues to provide classroom and hands-on training for the region’s firefighters and other emergency personnel.